Spring has arrived in the Rockies and with it all the anticipation of the bugs to come. April greeted us with above average temperatures and while we received some snow, most of our low elevation snowpack has melted, thrusting us into an early spring. The baetis hatches of early spring were very fun, albeit short lived. The bug factory has moved onto caddis production, certainly bolstered by the recent warm weather. Lower river valleys have been getting stained with runoff, so our fishing efforts have largely focused on upstream locales to take advantage of clarity and hatches.
This time of year, the suspense regarding the salmonfly hatch is always palpable. Water temps on the Upper Colorado hit 54 degrees last week before the air temps cooled slightly, so the nymphs have definitively been on the move, putting the big bugs on the menu for the foreseeable future. With our snowpack sitting at 85% of average, we expect these guys to arrive 1-2 weeks early this year, which means their emergence is right around the corner! Flows on the Colorado have stabilized, so we hope to have decent conditions for this years hatch. NOAA is forecasting "normal" temperatures and precipitation for the remainder of May, which makes me very optimistic about our product throughout runoff. We have a few new salmonfly patterns this year, including my Rogue Chubby. It's been hot with the guides so far, so get them while they're in stock!
Predator fishing on local still-waters has been very consistent since ice-off in mid April and will only continue to heat up through early June as water temperatures and levels increase and bring lake trout, pike, and big resident rainbows and browns near to the surface. My personal favorite is the Callibaetis on Hidden Valley Trophy Pond.